Dick and Mac McDonald Open the First McDonald's Restaurant

McDonald's began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California.

Their introduction of the "Speedee Service System" in 1948 established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The original mascot of McDonald's was a man with a chef's hat on top of a hamburger shaped head whose name was "Speedee." Speedee was eventually replaced with Ronald McDonald in 1963.

The first McDonald's restaurants opened in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, France, El Salvador and Sweden in order of openings.

The present corporation dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15, 1955, the ninth McDonald's restaurant overall. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers' equity in the company and led its worldwide expansion and the company became listed on the public stock markets in 1965. Kroc was also noted for aggressive business practices, compelling the McDonald brothers to leave the fast food industry. The McDonald brothers and Kroc feuded over control of the business, as documented in both Kroc's autobiography and in the McDonald brothers' autobiography. The site of the McDonald brothers' original restaurant is now a monument.

With the expansion of McDonald's into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its prominence has also made it a frequent topic of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics and consumer responsibility.